Since writing that last post about the challenge to my faith, a whole lot more has happened to challenge it. Some things are simply too personal to share in a venue like this, but it has been one of the most difficult months of my life. The rug has been pulled out from underneath me, the wind knocked out of me, things I always knew now unknown, my heart broken in the pain. I want the joy, but I simply fall to the ground in tears. I've been so tired of the fight, and tired of being tired. But as the lovely Switchfoot song proclaims, "the shadow proves the sunshine." I refuse to listen to lies screaming in my head. My God is at work, molding this clay how He sees fit. I'm striving for Him in hopes that I will thrive in His love.
It's times like these that God's Word really lights up the sky of my spiritual journey. The stars of His promises sparkle with grace before me - stars I never saw before because the sky wasn't dark enough. I started reading through the book of Deuteronomy. Though it took a while to get there, chapter 33 - verse 3 was well worth the trip.
"Yes, He loved His people, all His holy ones were in His hand; so they followed in Your steps, receiving direction from You."
The children of Israel wandered in that desert for 40 years. In that time, their clothes did not wear out and tear, nor did the souls of their shoes rot. They had no food to prepare for themselves. God fed them with manna from heaven. They had no water to drink. God called it out from rocks. They had no way of knowing what was their next step to take. God led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. These stubborn people had no means whatsoever by which to live and thrive. Every aspect of their life was granted by God Himself. All they could do was follow Him.
All of these images rushed into my head and heart as I read this one verse. Am I any different than these wanderers? I have been stubborn but God has carried me along. I have given myself to fear and doubt, but God has called me "His holy one". He has held me in His hand. His Word for me is my manna and water that I have no way of providing for myself. He guides me by its light and beauty. Though the path be rough and dry, it is the way home. I will follow in His steps. I will receive direction from Him. I love the picture of following that cloud and fire. Where He stays, I will remain. Where He leads, I will pursue.
I don't write this with the answers to all my questions firmly given. I write this because the promise is too beautiful to keep to myself. My Jesus is too beautiful to bow down to the idol of fear. I love Him - I love you, my wonderful Redeemer. I have failed to say it enough.
In the midst of these struggles, I have also been moved by some incredibly good music. Sara Groves' new album Invisible Empires has been such a soothing comfort to this weak heart of faith. She has challenged me from the beautifully haunting and ethereal song Miracle to "say what we cannot say, know what we could not know, to heal where we couldn't heal" because love is a miracle. She says exactly what I feel in Mystery - "My body is weary from trying to bring You here. My brow is furrowed trying to see things clear." But she stirs me with images of Paul & Silas in prison to "keep your eyes on the prize - hold on." Many people perform songs, some write them. To pen songs that become the soundtrack for a season in life is beautiful art. I can't recommend Invisible Empires enough.